Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

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dda1996a
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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#76 Post by dda1996a » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:25 am

To expand my original statement, what I meant by the white gaze was this - say you are the patriarch of the family, and are getting old and feeble. Your son says he can give you a new vessel to live in, a younger version of yourself. But that vessel is a black body. Wanting to live longer you agree, but then since you are living in a rich, snobby white suburb you can't just live freely in your house. The fact the two "servents" have to fake being lower class servents (which is poignant regarding treatment of blacks by rich white folks, not my point here) instead of getting to be who they truly are just in a new body. Having to a climate to being looked at differently, treated differently just seems a much more interesting angle to explore.
My other complaint was, why just use old people who want to live longer? Why not just go the extra mile and have younger white folks try and turn into blacks? It just seems too easy to just have damaged, old white people transform into younger blacks.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#77 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:54 am

I didn't see this film as cultural appropriation; more the subtle racism that lies within the veneer of white liberalism. It isn't out of step with Peele (and Key's) comedy. And one of the things that gets overlooked as this is a Blumhouse production is that Get Out is VERY funny.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#78 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:04 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:True enough, I suppose, though I think one could say of something that it works as an allegory for something else even if not intended as such- certainly, I think the physical act of stealing black bodies could be a metaphor for appropriation, though I think the movie is going for something more direct and more intentionally evil. Appropriation would be, perhaps, cloning the young black people to create new vessels? Still wrong, but not the visceral, vampiric wrongness of literally destroying someone WHILE you take their identity.
Yeah, it could be a metaphor, but the movie wouldn't work because it's got its metaphor backwards. To work as anything except bathos, you need the weaker thing to stand in for the stronger thing. Or, to be technical, the tenor has to be of more consequence than the vehicle. If cultural appropriation were standing in for the total enslavement of black bodies, it'd work as caustic satire. Here, the total enslavement of black bodies would be a metaphor for white people having cornrows and speaking AAVE, ie. something far, far less serious. It'd be like making a period film about the horrors of slavery but intending that as an allegory for how white people love rap--it trivializes something that ought never be trivial. With metaphor, you have to be careful about what your tenor and vehicle is.

My position on this whole discussion: this movie could be a metaphor or even a full blown allegory for cultural appropriation; but I hope it's not, because it would be a much lesser film if it were.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#79 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:59 pm

wattsup32 wrote:...I advise you to take my word for it instead of listening to the commentary. It is both hyper-pretentious and, somehow, ultra-basic. Neither of which I have ever heard him be, so I assume he was nervous or something. I had to resist the urge to like the film significantly less after hearing it.
I buy this. My favorite visuals in the film deal with "The Sunken Place," and recently he commented on how it was a metaphor for the "marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us." As much as I agree with that idea (and to be fair, it's easy to see how it could be expressed through some of those visuals), I didn't feel like the greater sociopolitical implications was something that came across that strongly given how those scenes played out within the narrative. (Compare this to the film's final scene - there's no mistaking what was being telegraphed there.) That brings me to another point, or rather one made by someone else.

Jon Jost has been posting reviews of Oscar nominated films on Facebook, and as he's stated over and over, he does not like Hollywood films, so you can imagine what his reviews are like thus far. The kindest review he had was for Get Out, which he admitted was well-crafted within the framework of commercial filmmaking. I generally liked it more than him, but he did hit on one point that somewhat reflected my own reservations:
Jon Jost wrote:I see nothing brilliant in this film, I see instead cookie cutter cinema packaging ideas which need to be expressed in far more serious form if they are to have any real social impact. America's institutional and structural racism deserves a clear-eye and careful exposure. It ain't a comedy, it is a tragedy. This film will make some people a lot of money (perhaps - I don't check BO figures), it will make some audiences whoop with pleasure and others be amused at their own skewering, and aside from the career paths of some involved it will change nothing. That's my complaint. It is built into the nature of fiction that at bottom "it's just a story" (as in "it's just a film") ergo nothing changes.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#80 Post by knives » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:29 pm

I strongly disagree with that for a number of reasons. First off how are we defining appropriate seriousness or tragedy in this context because throughout history going back as far as we have narrative records comedy, like The Frogs, and fantasy and all other not serious forms have been used to tackle very serious political ideas. It's an absurd charge. Secondly the film has had real social impact even just by forcing the conversation. Certainly more so than any of the serious films on the subject, such as Detroit which tellingly flopped, that have been put forth.

Also his comments on the audience put forth a really narrow view of things which highlight his hetero white guy hegemonic viewpoint. He talks nothing of the black (and other non-hegemonic audience members) experience of watching the film which clearly has touched a very important nerve giving them the opportunity for catharsis and the feeling that their reality is finally on screen. That white people also enjoy the movie is largely incidental to that as the primary audience is black people. That being said I think one really smart thing about the film is that it recognizes its main white audience is going to be liberals from big cities and so focuses its criticisms at them rather than malicious racism. Now, of course, most of those white liberals will say it is about other white liberals and not pause for self reflection. How would that response be any different in a serious and nonfictive film?

That last sentence in particular is deluded. While it is too soon to tell what sort of impact Get Out will have who is to say it needs to even have an impact to be considered good or successful? That seems to be setting goals for the film that it doesn't have since it clearly isn't made as a form of protest, but as a piece of catharsis. Outside of Get Out though there have been examples of films, and other arts, that don't take a serious form that have nonetheless changed the conversation and even rarely the laws at least to the same degree as more serious forms. It's an absurd and nonsensical charge.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#81 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:22 pm

knives wrote:First off how are we defining appropriate seriousness or tragedy in this context because throughout history going back as far as we have narrative records comedy, like The Frogs, and fantasy and all other not serious forms have been used to tackle very serious political ideas. It's an absurd charge. Secondly the film has had real social impact even just by forcing the conversation. Certainly more so than any of the serious films on the subject, such as Detroit which tellingly flopped, that have been put forth.

Also his comments on the audience put forth a really narrow view of things which highlight his hetero white guy hegemonic viewpoint. He talks nothing of the black (and other non-hegemonic audience members) experience of watching the film which clearly has touched a very important nerve giving them the opportunity for catharsis and the feeling that their reality is finally on screen...
The first point is spot-on - just look at Richard Pryor's incredible work as a stand-up comedian. However, it wasn't the comedy but the horror aspects of the film that fueled my own reservations. It's a little hard to articulate at the moment, but I walked away from this wondering if the sociopolitical commentary might've been neutralized by the conventions of that genre.

The film deserves a great deal of credit for spurring conversations, but I have strong reservations about any new or profound insight it's actually bringing to the table. You mentioned the cathartic effect of African-Americans finally seeing their reality on screen, but that feels like an overstatement in light of other works that have depicted their reality more effectively to similar (if not more) acclaim.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#82 Post by knives » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:34 pm

I know you said that you are having a hard time vocalizing this so sorry, but I would think (as was the case for me) that the conventions of horror (as Dom has said as a conventional horror film this is pretty effective) heightened the commentary by exaggerating the emotional intimacy to such a degree.

As to the later point, I don't think the film is necessarily bringing something new so much as bringing it in a package that works so well in a populist manner. Maybe something like Ganja and Hess is a more smartly made film, but Peele is working better at synthsizing an emotional truth. I hope that makes a little sense as I am a bit uncomfortable with this sort of speculation given that as far as I know none of is African American which is a fairly essential perspective to have on this topic.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#83 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:43 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
knives wrote:First off how are we defining appropriate seriousness or tragedy in this context because throughout history going back as far as we have narrative records comedy, like The Frogs, and fantasy and all other not serious forms have been used to tackle very serious political ideas. It's an absurd charge. Secondly the film has had real social impact even just by forcing the conversation. Certainly more so than any of the serious films on the subject, such as Detroit which tellingly flopped, that have been put forth.

Also his comments on the audience put forth a really narrow view of things which highlight his hetero white guy hegemonic viewpoint. He talks nothing of the black (and other non-hegemonic audience members) experience of watching the film which clearly has touched a very important nerve giving them the opportunity for catharsis and the feeling that their reality is finally on screen...
The first point is spot-on - just look at Richard Pryor's incredible work as a stand-up comedian. However, it wasn't the comedy but the horror aspects of the film that fueled my own reservations. It's a little hard to articulate at the moment, but I walked away from this wondering if the sociopolitical commentary might've been neutralized by the conventions of that genre.

The film deserves a great deal of credit for spurring conversations, but I have strong reservations about any new or profound insight it's actually bringing to the table. You mentioned the cathartic effect of African-Americans finally seeing their reality on screen, but that feels like an overstatement in light of other works that have depicted their reality more effectively to similar (if not more) acclaim.
How many people go and see those serious films in comparison to Get Out ? Is a large audience flocking to see Jon Jost's films ? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for arts funding and marginal experimental cinema but that's not how you get your message into the culture. And nobody is expecting for one film to change everything, but a popular film like Get Out certainly stimulates more of a discussion than an experimental art house film. I think Jon Jost's should look at the BO figures which he expresses himself to be so disinterested in. The most powerful tool at Get Out's disposal are its genre trappings, because they are what reached such a large audience. I think horror is a rather flexible genre which can do all sorts of things.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#84 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:33 pm

knives wrote:I know you said that you are having a hard time vocalizing this so sorry, but I would think (as was the case for me) that the conventions of horror (as Dom has said as a conventional horror film this is pretty effective) heightened the commentary by exaggerating the emotional intimacy to such a degree.

As to the later point, I don't think the film is necessarily bringing something new so much as bringing it in a package that works so well in a populist manner. Maybe something like Ganja and Hess is a more smartly made film, but Peele is working better at synthsizing an emotional truth. I hope that makes a little sense as I am a bit uncomfortable with this sort of speculation given that as far as I know none of is African American which is a fairly essential perspective to have on this topic.
I get the feeling we may be processing what horror does very differently. This was an effective horror film, and I'm not surprised by its broad appeal because it can be very engaging and entertaining as a horror film (as well as a comedy). But horror doesn't really make terror or violence more genuinely felt or real to me. If anything, it arguably does the opposite - it's usually making those things palatable as entertainment, and often times this means making it more distant. The only two moments that got under my skin came in the first and last scenes, and in the case of the former, it was before the surprise happens. In both cases I think they tap into why it can be pretty damn terrifying to be a minority in America - it's deeply felt, but it's telling to me that those parts aren't immediately identifiable as "horror" moments, they could have played as is in many other genres without sticking out.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#85 Post by knives » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:44 pm

It does sound like our views are in disagreement on this, but assuming that most people hold one of the two positions the critical, and more importantly popular, reaction seems more in my camp on this particular film, on the whole.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#86 Post by swo17 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:54 pm

I think I kind of get HTS's point in the sense that there's something a little too easy about this film that holds it back from being "Great." Then again, I feel that way about most films.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#87 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:19 pm

knives wrote:That last sentence in particular is deluded. While it is too soon to tell what sort of impact Get Out will have who is to say it needs to even have an impact to be considered good or successful? That seems to be setting goals for the film that it doesn't have since it clearly isn't made as a form of protest, but as a piece of catharsis. Outside of Get Out though there have been examples of films, and other arts, that don't take a serious form that have nonetheless changed the conversation and even rarely the laws at least to the same degree as more serious forms. It's an absurd and nonsensical charge.
This is what irritated me most about that quote, the misguided expectation that films or books or whatever be judged on how successful they are as social activism. The idea is as logical as complaining that a painting of a couch isn't very comfortable to sit on. You aren't watching a film for the same reasons you're participating in a rally.

Art that's aimed primarily at accomplishing some social or political change, if it survives at all, survives mainly as an historical curiosity (eg. Chernyshevsky's What is to be Done?), or because the artistic parts of it succeed in spite of the social designs (eg. anything by Dostoevsky, who, let's face it, isn't read because his peculiar Christian social reforms are appealing). If anything, we see just how weak social designs in art truly are when that art comes from vanished ages. We see how thudding, dreary, and strangling incessant preaching becomes when there are no longer any lessons to take from it--how corny and unlife-like it seems, too. It's no accident that propaganda deals mainly with simplified concepts and unambiguous emotions: getting people to think and act in certain ways requires that you avoid complexity, nuance, and ambiguity--ie. anything that might cause someone to really question what's being presented. There's a painful irony in the author both wanting a more rigorous and keenly observed expression of these racial ideas and for these ideas to have an immediate observable social effect. Those things don't go together.

He's wrong, anyway, about fiction changing nothing because it's only stories. There are a number of instances of this or that piece of fiction changing how whole groups think, what their values are, etc. There are even works of fiction that have caused real measurable social change. The brutality of sea-life dramatized in Melville's White-Jacket directly inspired Congress to ban flogging on U.S. ships. Uncle Tom's Cabin was credited by Lincoln for the war to end slavery (the truth of that debatable I suppose). Turgenev's Sketches from a Hunter's Album inspired the emancipation of the serfs. But so what? How many people consider White Jacket Melville's artistic triumph? Who really prefers Uncle Tom's Cabin to Huckleberry Finn or Light in August or, hell, To Kill a Mockingbird? Are Turgenev's serfs more worth experiencing, and his beautiful descriptions of sunlight, foliage, and natural scenery--the triumphs of his book--actually rendered more impressive or pleasurable, because eventually serfdom was abolished? Does anyone really look at those three books and say to themselves, yes, finally, the true aims of art have been fulfilled?

The author's view is also inimicable to aesthetic standards. Most obviously, because it privileges ends over means, forcing one to praise bad art that effects some particular change over good art that does not. It's self-defeating, too: art's purpose becomes to make itself redundant. If a film ought to inspire social change, and it does, the film has fulfilled its purpose and is no longer needed. So the world is full of films we needn't watch because they didn't/don't effect change, and films we needn't watch because they do. All that's left us is the small handful made right now that may or may not cause change, we haven't decided yet.

Anyway, the author should be happy that individual films aren't willy-nilly inspiring widespread acts of political and social change, because films aren't only made by our allies, and a populace that isn't suddenly mobilized by whatever propaganda happens across its path is something to be thankful for. Art, if it is to have a social function, is a matter for thought, reflection, and conversation, all of which could perhaps result in social change, but needn't. Art's effect is broad: it opens our consciousness to a wider range of experiences, ideas, thoughts, people, and emotions; it takes what we see around us and works it into combinations greater and more varied than even our own enormous world could afford; it allows us to experience heights of beauty, terror, sublimity, baseness, and strangeness in a concentrated form, and lets us experience those feelings through the consciousness of another. It is our response to what is crushing and deadening in the world. We turn to it for a wider and more interesting life. If all that richness (including the multitudes of it I haven't mentioned in my paltry, insufficient list) trickles down eventually into this or that specific avenue of a person's life and makes a positive difference somewhere, great. But no one should dictate which avenue that ought to be be, nor that it should happen at all.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#88 Post by knives » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:52 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
knives wrote:That last sentence in particular is deluded. While it is too soon to tell what sort of impact Get Out will have who is to say it needs to even have an impact to be considered good or successful? That seems to be setting goals for the film that it doesn't have since it clearly isn't made as a form of protest, but as a piece of catharsis. Outside of Get Out though there have been examples of films, and other arts, that don't take a serious form that have nonetheless changed the conversation and even rarely the laws at least to the same degree as more serious forms. It's an absurd and nonsensical charge.
Anyway, the author should be happy that individual films aren't willy-nilly inspiring widespread acts of political and social change, because films aren't only made by our allies, and a populace that isn't suddenly mobilized by whatever propaganda happens across its path is something to be thankful for.
This is perhaps the biggest thing I was thinking about as I wrote my little thing (which you expanded upon so well). Probably the film we could say has had the biggest influence socially ever is Birth of a Nation. I would hope Jost would agree that that social effect isn't as desirable as whatever little thing you can accuse Get Out of doing.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#89 Post by tenia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:27 am

hearthesilence wrote:In both cases I think they tap into why it can be pretty damn terrifying to be a minority in America - it's deeply felt, but it's telling to me that those parts aren't immediately identifiable as "horror" moments, they could have played as is in many other genres without sticking out.
I'm white, so I definitely can't get how it feels to be a minority, but I saw plenty of moments between the first and last sequences of how it can be insidiously terrifying to be a minority in America. Actually, I'd even say the first and last sequence are probably the least effective ones in this regard because they tap in the obvious realm of police biases against minorities, but the movie has many many other moments more subtle and, to me, more effective in how minorities can be mistreated.
But I'm one who quite dislike the last part of the movie as being overly simplistic, which I don't believe is a common feedback about the movie.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#90 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:38 pm

Calling it "the obvious realm of police biases against minorities" seems overly dismissive, especially considering how racial tensions in the few years leading up to Trump blew up precisely because of tensions between the police and the African-American community. Honestly, the fear of being perceived as guilty because you look "wrong" compounded with the fear that someone may do you disproportionately violent harm because of how you look is a far more difficult experience than any passive-aggressive racial tensions you may encounter at someone's party or in someone's home.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#91 Post by tenia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:08 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Calling it "the obvious realm of police biases against minorities" seems overly dismissive, especially considering how racial tensions in the few years leading up to Trump blew up precisely because of tensions between the police and the African-American community.
I understand what you mean, but on the screen, in a movie, this is indeed a more obvious bias than, say, the black-on-black mistrust or the whitesplaining of how Chris as a kid was kind of useless (or something like this).
I'm not saying that this is a bigger problem in real life (it probably is), but that, in the movie, it felt like to me (the Average Joe white young guy) the most obvious thing for the movie to tap into (as a movie plot, if you want).

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#92 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:55 pm

Could you explain why it matters that it's "obvious"?

Personally, I couldn't think of a more appropriate or logical beat to hit at that moment.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#93 Post by tenia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:46 pm

Because amongst all the difficulties encountered by minorities IRL, negative biases from the police probably is the most famous one, hence my personal response to these scenes as using easier targets as movie plots (especially the 1st one).

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#94 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:09 pm

It's the most famous because it's one of the most inescapable and pervasive, though. It's like saying the most famous difficulty of living on Mars is the lack of oxygen- yes, there are other problems, but that one is so huge and vital that to leave it out would be an act of deliberate exclusion.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#95 Post by tenia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:14 pm

I know, but yet, my reaction in front of this as movie scenes was "yeah, of course, the police negative biases".

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#96 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:30 pm

tenia wrote:I know, but yet, my reaction in front of this as movie scenes was "yeah, of course, the police negative biases".
Again, the problem with this is...?

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#97 Post by tenia » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:22 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
tenia wrote:I know, but yet, my reaction in front of this as movie scenes was "yeah, of course, the police negative biases".
Again, the problem with this is...?
That as a movie plot, it feels some kind of compelled passage, something you'd expect for the movie to tap into and something seen in plenty of other movies. It feels rehashed.
The comparison with a space movie is a good one : sure, lack of oxygen in space is a vital point, but in a movie, it's something which has been used many time as a plot point, and it'd feel rehashed even if, IRL, it makes sense to be careful about that.

Get Out is, despite everything, a movie, and as a movie, this plot point felt rehashed to me.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#98 Post by aox » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:27 am

tenia wrote:[ this plot point felt rehashed to me.
From what?

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#99 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:11 pm

I think I kind of get what they're saying - the best aspects of the film are the "sketch comedy of menace" parts that tackle subtler, insidious aspects of racism, so when the film turns to a larger, more easily accessible threat the prickly, surreal edge is softened.

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Re: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

#100 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:07 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:I think I kind of get what they're saying - the best aspects of the film are the "sketch comedy of menace" parts that tackle subtler, insidious aspects of racism, so when the film turns to a larger, more easily accessible threat the prickly, surreal edge is softened.
This would make sense if what he were talking about were a major, integral plot point, and not a small bit at the end. But here, with this film, it's an absurd nitpick.

I still can't understand what he means by obvious or unsubtle, nor why these are negatives. He refuses to explain the value system behind his comments. He says it's the one racist element of the film he was already very familiar with. And, well, yeah. Of course. The moment doesn't work unless you already are familiar with the trope. Otherwise, when the police car comes up you're going to feel relief that the good guys are finally here, and subsequently the reversal of it being his friend isn't going to work. It'll just be odd. You'll also miss the satire, since this is meant to satirize the end of horror and action films where the cavalry rides in on behalf of the system and we're meant to feel things are about to be set right (here, of course, we immediately feel everything's about to get worse). The whole moment is built on the idea that you know what's up.

That and what aox said: what exactly is this being rehashed from?

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